“You mean, I can choose to believe in Jesus?” my young Nepali friend asked in surprise as I was giving her a ride to the grocery store. She was an international student at the same university I was attending and had been coming for several months to a weekly Bible study. As we were discussing her thoughts regarding the study, she suddenly became shocked by the realization that she could choose what to believe. She had grown up in a culture where faith was something she was born into, with no choice given to her.

Throughout the book of Joshua, God showed He’s completely worthy to be trusted and followed. In fact, “not a single one of all the good promises the Lord had given to the family of Israel was left unfulfilled” (Joshua 21:45). Toward the end of Joshua’s life, he reminded the people of Israel of all the incredible things God had done for them and gave them a challenge—to choose whom they would follow and serve.

The people of Israel were at a crossroads in which they had to make a decision whether to “serve the Lord alone” or serve the idols of the nations surrounding them (Joshua 24:14). God certainly could have forced them to follow Him, but He didn’t do that. Instead, He allowed them to choose. As Joshua said, “If you refuse to serve the Lord , then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? . . . But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).

Today, God allows us to choose whom we’ll follow just as He did with the Israelites thousands of years ago. We need not allow culture and tradition to be the basis on which we make our decision. May we, like Joshua, have the courage to choose to serve God as He draws us!

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Daniel 3:1-30